City officials are proposing to name a stretch of the Seattle waterfront after a former Indigenous town that was a center for tribal fishing and trade in an effort to lift up Seattle’s Native history.
A stretch of Alaskan Way and Elliott Way between South Dearborn Street and Bell Street would receive the honorary name Dzidzilalich — pronounced dzee-dzuh-lah-leech — which means “little crossing-over place” in Lushootseed, a Coast Salish language. Legally, the road will still be Alaskan Way, and no addresses will change.
The name likely referred to a chunk of land that either connected the bay and a lagoon in what is now Pioneer Square or the bay and Lake Washington, according to HistoryLink.
The renaming is part of the city’s Waterfront Seattle program, which has been working with tribal partners to implement things like public art and events to honor Indigenous history and culture in the area.
The Suquamish and Muckleshoot Tribal Councils weighed in on the proposed change.
“This thoroughfare crosses over the shorelines and tideflats where our ancestors lived and gathered with other peoples for thousands of years,” said Leonard Forsman, chair of the Suquamish Tribe and president of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, in a press release. “Elliott Bay has provided our harvesters with salmon, shellfish and other marine resources, sustaining us for many generations.”
The City Council will vote on the measure in early 2023. If approved, signage with the honorary name will be installed at the opening of Elliott Way.
On Dec. 14, a Pierce County jury found County Sheriff Ed Troyer not guilty of misdemeanor counts of false reporting and “making a false or misleading statement to a public servant.” The charges were filed by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, early in the morning of Jan. 27, 2021, Troyer followed a newspaper carrier named Sedrick Altheimer, who is Black. When Altheimer confronted him to ask why Troyer was following him, they got into a “verbal exchange.” Troyer called the “officer line” and told a dispatcher that Altheimer “knows who I am and he threatened to kill me.”
The call prompted a massive police response — more than 40 officers from different agencies came to the scene. However, according to charging documents, Troyer later said that Altheimer had not threatened him.
The case was referred to the Attorney General’s Office by Gov. Jay Inslee in April 2021. The office filed charges against Troyer in October 2021.
“Part of upholding the rule of law is respecting the decision of a jury,” Ferguson said in a press release.
Read more of the Dec. 21-27, 2022 issue.